Written by Lynne Kelly

Hastin is a 10 year old boy in India who is away from his family. Nandita is a young elephant who is away from her family. Both come together in Chained, the debut novel by Lynne Kelly. This is a beautifully poignant story of a young man’s and elephant’s bravery and courage in the face of great cruelty and hardship. Hastin leaves his mother and ill sister to work off a debt. He is hired by Timir, a hateful, pitiless man who owns a broken down circus in the jungle. Timir is trying to revive his once successful circus one act at a time. His workmen capture a young elephant and Hastin will be her keeper, along with multiple other jobs. What ensues is an enduring friendship between the two and a boy’s desire to save his friend and himself. Will he free her in the end?

Along with superbly descriptive settings and characters: Sharad, the hard and troubled elephant trainer, and Ne Min, the quiet, wise, compassionate cook. Chained is, as author Kathi Appelt wrote, “”a story that unwraps the heart and asks it to be brave, loyal and above all, kind.” This book leaves you wanting to increase those three qualities in yourself and a greater appreciation for elephants. Have a box of kleenex close by.

Review by Renee Larsen, Hillside Elem. School Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4-6, “but everyone should read this.”

Written by Lynne Kelly
Farrar Straus Giroux
248 pages
Release Date: May 8, 2012
ISBN: 9780374312374 (hardcover)

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